WANDERERS chairman Don Woodward said Gareth Ainsworth was always the top contender for the manager's job after being impressed with the team's displays while he was caretaker.

Ainsworth has been handed the reins on a full time basis until the end of the season after signing a contract this morning.

Woodward said the 39-year-old had transformed the character of the team, with the determination of an injury-ravaged squad during Tuesday night's goalless draw with Aldershot Town being the clincher.

He said: "Gareth has shown more than just football ability. He's a great man, a great club man and the dedication and approach he's shown to the whole job and not just the team management has been phenomenal. He's been a great guy and we are very lucky to have his services. We are looking forward to working with him way beyond football.

"The positivity that came out very early on was immense. He's shown his near 600 game experience in the way he's transformed and improved the team, and the attitude of the team. He got them playing like a team, believing in themselves and trying much harder.

"The evidence is there on the pitch, particularly Tuesday when he had a difficult job to do with a lot of people injured. He created a team completely different to any one we thought he would put out and it worked really well.

"He got people playing in the positions they are not used to, working for each other. That really shows how he's created the team spirit that's got everyone buying into what he's trying to do here.

"It was fantastic to see what we can do when the chips are really down."

Blues went on a three match winning run early in Ainsworth's spell in caretaker charge, although they have not won in five as the injuries pile up throughout the squad.

But despite that Ainsworth said he never had any doubts he would be given the job.

He said: "If you're going to be like that you're kidding yourself. I'm a positive guy and always have been. I'll give everything I've got. As long as I do my best I can never look back and think 'what if'. That's the advice I'll be giving my players - do your best, give your all, I can't ask for any more than that.

"I'm very proud and honoured to be the Wycombe Wanderers manager. It's an aim I've had since taking the reins at QPR five years ago - it whet the appetite.

"It's a real chance for me but there's a lot of work to do and it will start immediately."